Music Contest #9 - Poll

Cast your vote! (Up to 2 entries are allowed)


  • Total voters
    15
  • Poll closed .
Level 28
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,351
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Steampunk
Participants should create a song that fits the steampunk retro-futuristic aesthetic.

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  • Each user can only vote once in the poll.
  • You cannot vote for yourself. If a voter has the same IP as the author then the vote will not be counted and it may result in the disqualification of the entry.
  • You cannot create multiple accounts to vote for an entry in the poll. If a voter has been found to be using multiple accounts none of the voters votes will count in the final result.
  • You cannot bribe users for votes. Contestants who break this rule will be disqualified and given negative reputation.

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  • First Place: 40 reputation points and your entry on the award icon
  • Second Place: 25 reputation points and an award icon
  • Third Place: 15 reputation points and an award icon
  • Participants: 5 reputation points
  • Judges: 5 reputation points

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This YouTube video contains all the entries. The start time of each song is in the video description.

UserSubmission
AditTechnoDesert Machine
obieSiege on Compoundville
BrambleclawClockwork Madness
deepstraszSphere of the Architect
Donut78The Grand Tour
HappyTaurenMachine Heart
GhostOfPastLocomaction

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CriteriaThe judging criteria for this contest.
Theme (/15)
How well does it demonstrate the feeling of the theme
Creativity/Originality (/10)How original is the piece? How creative are you with the theme/instruments/etc.
Production (/10)Basically, how well does it flow? Are accents used to good effect? Do overall levels make sense? etc.
Composition (/15)How well is it composed? Do the key changes make sense?
  • Judgement: 70%
  • Poll: 30%
FinalScore =(30*EntryVotes/TotalVotes) +(70*JudgeScore/100)

Contest thread can be found here.
 
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I'll go through each entry and comment on it now, since they are finally done, and try to find my favorite. It's kind of hard because tracks have very varying qualities to them, so I can't really decide which one I like the most.

Now off to re-listening :D

Desert Machine - by AditTechno
This entry embodies the laid-back "cool" side of steampunk. It's easy to bob your head to, and it has a lot of mechanical sounding noises to simulate steampunk elements, and they are all done through instrumentation and not simply sampling. It has a good flow to it, the consistent rhythmic backing and modulations that make sense, and a melody that doesn't try to sound too imposing or all important, the production is tight, it has that midrange-heavy synthy sound that's really catchy.

Siege on Compoundville - by obie
A very atmospheric piece that transitions into metal. I have a feeling it cuts off somewhat unexpectedly and feels unfinished. Some synths used during the metal part in particular don't feel like they belong to the same mix, the production of the metal part feels way too dry to my taste, so more care could've been taken during production imo. Not a huge fan of sampled steampunk noises. Still, I really love how it transitions into a much heavier piece, and even though I love metal, I like the first part more, tho I love the composition overall. Despite the flaws, I still like it.

Clockwork Madness - by Brambleclaw
This one has been my favorite since I've heard it completed. I don't like how the orchestral synth seems to cut off since it is either not midi'd well enough or the library is cheap. Also could've done without the random, deep, steampunk noises, since I don't feel like they do anything musically. The high pitched well integrated steampunk noises, however, are great. At some point the orchestral composition loses a bit of the direction, but it comes back to the beginning riff which is my favorite part of the composition. I can see steampunkish flying ships cover the sky to join the battle as I listen to this.

Sphere of the Architect - by deepstrasz
An extremely atmospheric piece, that seems to give up on trying to sound like tonal music in the beginning and instead strives to directly transfer the feeling of "steampunk" through an arrangement of noises. As stand alone music, unfortunately, it doesn't do much, which isn't something I am too thrilled about, but I can see compositions like this being really good background to some sort of a (non steampunk specific) setting. It picks up the pace later, though I feel like it's kind of too late in a way, since it lasts for more than 7 minutes. It's a shame that more of this composition wasn't like the last few parts of it. It evokes the feeling of a dystopian steampunk world with a glimmer of hope, so I'd say that thematically, this entry shines.

The Grand Tour - by Donut78
This doesn't sound decidedly steampunkish at any rate, but it does sound like very proper adventure music the likes of which you can hear in movies and games. It's very upbeat, epic and well arranged. Aside from not sounding like it has much to do with the theme, I really have no complains for this, it's just, as I said, very proper adventure music. It is kind of short, but it certainly gets its point across.

Locomaction - by GhostOfPast
This entry is just a ton of fun. The vibe you've gone for is very well executed, and especially the combination of 8/16bit elements with more refined tracks/instruments. I can see it sounding as a train, and I can already imagine a 2D game where you're chasing a moving train and this goes in the background, so you get lots of points for that. The production is clean and fitting for the style of music that it belongs to. I love how each part of the composition transitions into another. As I said, it just sounds very fun, and I like a lot of soundtracks that sound like this, you could have this on repeat forever and not get bored (which is what game music has to be, too).

Conclusion
I don't think I've ever voted in a contest where it's basically anyone's game since so many entries are of such high quality, even if the qualities in question are specific to the entry, so I'll think for a while and decide which (thankfully, two) entries I am going to vote for.
 
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Level 15
Joined
Feb 28, 2016
Messages
654
Yeah, the poll is up!

I can't make reviews about this, and I'm not going to vote for this (I can only review in Mini-Mapping). I don't know what to actually say about the compositions.

But anyway, it's going to be tough.
 
Level 28
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,351
I'm glad to announce that this contest now has judges! Great thanks to them.

Its intriguing how this contest spawned such cool and diverse entries. Good work, guys.

I'll go through each entry and comment on it now, since they are finally done, and try to find my favorite. It's kind of hard because tracks have very varying qualities to them, so I can't really decide which one I like the most.

Now off to re-listening :D

Desert Machine - by AditTechno
This entry embodies the laid-back "cool" side of steampunk. It's easy to bob your head to, and it has a lot of mechanical sounding noises to simulate steampunk elements, and they are all done through instrumentation and not simply sampling. It has a good flow to it, the consistent rhythmic backing and modulations that make sense, and a melody that doesn't try to sound too imposing or all important, the production is tight, it has that midrange-heavy synthy sound that's really catchy.

Siege on Compoundville - by obie
A very atmospheric piece that transitions into metal. I have a feeling it cuts off somewhat unexpectedly and feels unfinished. Some synths used during the metal part in particular don't feel like they belong to the same mix, the production of the metal part feels way too dry to my taste, so more care could've been taken during production imo. Not a huge fan of sampled steampunk noises. Still, I really love how it transitions into a much heavier piece, and even though I love metal, I like the first part more, tho I love the composition overall. Despite the flaws, I still like it.

Clockwork Madness - by Brambleclaw
This one has been my favorite since I've heard it completed. I don't like how the orchestral synth seems to cut off since it is either not midi'd well enough or the library is cheap. Also could've done without the random, deep, steampunk noises, since I don't feel like they do anything musically. The high pitched well integrated steampunk noises, however, are great. At some point the orchestral composition loses a bit of the direction, but it comes back to the beginning riff which is my favorite part of the composition. I can see steampunkish flying ships cover the sky to join the battle as I listen to this.

Sphere of the Architect - by deepstrasz
An extremely atmospheric piece, that seems to give up on trying to sound like tonal music in the beginning and instead strives to directly transfer the feeling of "steampunk" through an arrangement of noises. As stand alone music, unfortunately, it doesn't do much, which isn't something I am to thrilled about, but I can see compositions like this being really good background to some sort of a (non steampunk specific) setting. It picks up the pace later, though I feel like it's kind of too late in a way, since it lasts for more than 7 minutes. It's a shame that more of this composition wasn't like the last few parts of it. It evokes the feeling of a dystopian steampunk world with a glimmer of hope, so I'd say that thematically, this entry shines.

The Grand Tour - by Donut78
This doesn't sound decidedly steampunkish at any rate, but it does sound like very proper adventure music the likes of which you can hear in movies and games. It's very upbeat, epic and well arranged. Aside from not sounding like it has much to do with the theme, I really have no complains for this, it's just, as I said, very proper adventure music. It is kind of short, but it certainly gets its point across.

Locomaction - by GhostOfPast
This entry is just a ton of fun. The vibe you've gone for is very well executed, and especially the combination of 8/16bit elements with more refined tracks/instruments. I can see it sounding as a train, and I can already imagine a 2D game where you're chasing a moving train and this goes in the background, so you get lots of points for that. The production is clean and fitting for the style of music that it belongs to. I love how each part of the composition transitions into another. As I said, it just sounds very fun, and I like a lot of soundtracks that sound like this, you could have this on repeat forever and not get bored (which is what game music has to be, too).

Conclusion
I don't think I've ever voted in a contest where it's basically anyone's game since so many entries are of such high quality, even if the qualities in question are specific to the entry, so I'll think for a while and decide which (thankfully, two) entries I am going to vote for.

Alright, that's a review! Funny how I pictured different things sometimes, like in Brambleclaw's Clockwork Madness.
 
Level 22
Joined
Jul 25, 2009
Messages
3,112
I've finished my judging. I don't want to create the perspective that I've judged anyone's music unfairly so I'll be coordinating with RED_BARON to see what he thinks of each piece so far.

I will say I found judging the pieces based on the Steampunk theme to be very difficult, so if anything you can bitch at me about that, but I think I gave everyone a fair shake, and I tried to be as objective as possible while still using my own ears.

Edit: Are judges allowed to vote in the poll or nah? I just want to see the results mainly.
 
Level 28
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,351
Awesome! This sure was an interesting theme for a music contest. Congrats to whoever suggested that.

Edit: Are judges allowed to vote in the poll or nah? I just want to see the results mainly.
No judges aren't allowed to vote on the poll. Can't you see the results without voting? For me there's a button for it, right next to the "Cast Your Vote".
 

deepstrasz

Map Reviewer
Level 53
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
15,521
AditTechno's - the digital metallic instruments sound and blend in really well. However, the overall feel doesn't even lead to a teslapunk atmosphere but more to a 80s futuristic world. I ignore names/titles of songs and judge only the music, but I'll mention that I've sensed no desert feeling, not because there was little to no oriental groove but because there wasn't really anything pointing to sand or at least an oasis, no wind (I guess you tried that with the pads), something. The chords are quite repetitive but there are a number of solos and new instruments coming on as the song progresses. You've called the genre industrial steampunk. I disagree. It's a good song, especially as a game soundtrack.

Brambleclaw's - instrumentation is pretty well chosen, from brass (also literally) to metallic noises (even violins/cellos have some metal, the strings), however, there is a part where a background bass-ish sound gets through the melodic line which makes the passage feel as if the music is actually overlapping a scene of a game/movie. There's a Warcraft: Orcs & Humans vibe at times (trumpets). It mainly stays on the same mood and there's a neat ephemeral addition of grunge to spice things up at the end. Of course, as mine, it has the classic/typical clockwork in it.

Donut78's - it's about exploring, venturing, magic, fantasy, raising morale, living, love stories, places, green hills, wide spaces, the blue sky, flying, seafaring, navigating a boat through the clouds... but can't really fathom any steampunk anywhere in particular. It's a happy song, it doesn't leave you bitter, makes you want to live there. Orchestration is swell and all. A good soundtrack which ends a bit abruptly though.

GhostOfPast's - I'd wager the steampunk is hidden in the 8bit-ish audio because the percussion isn't quite enough. Well, there's other metal there: piano's chords. Apart from the mislaid "Oh shit!", the nice touch to it is the raising tempo towards the end which does indeed consider the song's title. It has more of a happy techno vibe. I guess you wanted the wind FX and snare to represent steam? Nevertheless a nice retrogame soundtrack.

HappyTauren's - in the beginning, I thought I was listening to a carol which is fine considering the period this contest was started in. I got mixed feelings on the genre here but I guess one ranging from teslapunk to cyberpunk fits pretty well. The Slavic tone makes its conspicuous presence, even maybe stretching the idea to a hora. The percussion denotes the song title and so do the electric guitar and bass chords which fuel the energy of the machine. Alas, the main theme is overused.

obie's - you've got a nifty atmosphere set in right from the beginning: bells, brass, strings, some hydraulics. But then, viking metal! All good and sassy until the guitar is left alone with percussion mostly till the sudden end. I feel as if the song has yet to be completed and I'm really sorry about it since it shows so much promise. You could have escaped the stale by doing a sort of loop designed end as a last minute save. It's a good song which is made of two distinct parts: the preparation/buildup and the action/point of interest.
 
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Level 15
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Feb 28, 2016
Messages
654
I'm still here.

So, it's not going to be a problem to make the template for the results thread.
My problem here is putting the judging. RiotZ's judging is very easy to arrange, yet the judging from @RED BARON is my trouble because he precoded it with BB Codes. That's the reason why I delayed it a bit.
 
Level 35
Joined
Oct 9, 2006
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6,373
I'm still here.

So, it's not going to be a problem to make the template for the results thread.
My problem here is putting the judging. RiotZ's judging is very easy to arrange, yet the judging from @RED BARON is my trouble because he precoded it with BB Codes. That's the reason why I delayed it a bit.

Darn I thought I was so thoughtful by precoding it so you could just CnP it - I do also have one without - but that is alot less readable.
 
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